Chamber of Mines calls on Malawians to invest in mining
…Let us not shy away and complain of foreign dominance later – Lungu
By Chiku Jere
Malawi Chamber of Mines and Energy has called on local entrepreneurs to partner up and invest in capital-intensive mining projects in order to wade off foreign dominance in the extractive industry.
The call was made during the chamber’s stakeholders meeting which was held at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.
Dean Lungu, who was formally endorsed as President of the Chamber at the meeting, said locals need to position themselves early in the blossoming sector by creating partnerships to invest in big projects.
If we are to claim our rightful role in the industry, we need to urgently form partnerships and take the initiative as indigenous entrepreneurs. The problem with us is that we wait for multinational companies to come and we whine about their dominance, which is absurd,
He said the sooner Malawian business persons dumped their timid approach to new ventures the better, as successful investment has always sprouted through risk and courage.
There is huge mineral wealth out there waiting for us to exploit and liberate our country from economic woes. All we need is courage, determination and combined effort to reach to that Promised Land. Let me tell you here, no one; I say no one but us, are the masters of our fate. We sleep, we die. We wake up, we survive and prosper,
The highly-spirited Lungu said that locals should not shy away or be scared of pumping the money into big mining projects because that is where big and life-transforming profits are.
Lungu said that with agriculture falling shot, mining is the only viable alternative that can change the economic face of Malawi and Malawians themselves, need to be at the centre stage of the positive economic revolution that a fully-fledged extractives industry is predicted to bring to the country.
Let’s lead the way, be exemplary and allow foreign investors to be attracted through us, that is what we call patriotic business ventures,
said Lungu, Director for Bwanje Cement Company.
He, however, lamented the tough economic conditions in the country that are characterised by high interest rates which are a major prohibitive factor for locals to raise project financing from banks.
Malawi’s lending rates are at as exorbitantly high as 30-35% while in other countries the rates are as low as 2 percent, a scenario which, Lungu said, gives advantage to foreign investors.
He, therefore, said the chamber will engage government to figure out how they can create an environment that will provide necessary incentives for local investors to invest in mining.
We need a sound and comprehensive policy and legislation that empowers locals to invest in mining,
In countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe, there are established laws that provide for local content in the ownership of mining projects.
During the event, members elected Russel Thornicroft the Director of Rift Valley Mining Company as Vice President of the Chamber.
They also elected a seven-member council which includes Burton Kachinjika of Mkango Resources, Paladin Africa Limited Country Manager Alec Sharland, Mota-Engil’s Paulo Rocha, Chrispine Ngwena from Global Metals & Mining and Coal Africa Limited’s Hastings Jere.
Other members are Dina Longwe of Bwanje Cement Company, Bobby Singh from Optichem 2000 Limited, Nyala Mines Limited’s Abdul Mahommed, Hellen Chabunya of M’bwabwa Mining and Energy and a seasoned geologist James Chatupa of Craton Resources Consultants.
The function also saw the adoption of the constitution, which was put on a ‘subject to periodical amendment’ status due to foreseeable dynamics synonymous with the mining sector.
Chamber’s founding member and renowned geologist, Grain Malunga, who has diligently served as a coordinator on interim basis was given a resounding vote of confidence and elevated to the post of Chief Executive Officer.
Malunga, a former Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment, said the Chamber is on the right track and needs to consolidate the gains it has made so far through dedication by its membership.
The objectives of the Chamber include promoting, advancing and protecting the interests of the sector, its members and the public and acting as a link between government and the industry.
The piece “Chamber of Mines calls on Malawians to invest in mining” featured above was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 40 that is circulating this August 2016.
The full edition is available for download here. This monthly publication is edited by Marcel Chimwala.